WWU's Resilient Farms Project Awarded Grant for Research on Threats to Small- and Medium-Sized Farms

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 4:30pm

Contact: Gigi Berardi, Western Washington University professor of Environmental Studies, (360) 650-2106 or gigi.berardi@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM – The Resilient Farms Project of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment Resilience Institute has received a $1,100 grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation for research and workshops to help small-scale farms in Western Washington enhance their resiliency.

The Resilient Farms Project works with small- and medium-sized farms, which are an important component of both the regional food supply and the economy in the North Puget Sound region. Yet, these farms are also threatened by a range of extreme events and rapid changes to their economic environment. These threats include increased fuel costs, flooding, climate change and urban encroachment. Enhancing farm resiliency can be a key component in supporting the long-term economic viability of small- and medium-sized farms within Western Washington and their local communities.

“This project involves virtually all scales of production in the county – it seeks to reduce hazards and risks for farmers, but also to increase the networking with the dozens of food advocacy and support groups in the county,” Gigi Berardi, WWU professor of Environmental Studies, said.

The project engages local farmers, farm advocacy groups, and collaborators to develop local action agendas for implementing promising policies within the immediate North Puget Sound Region and beyond.

“Some of that policy has to do with acknowledging time as an important limiting factor for farmers and their operations, and thus understanding pressing needs and limitations regarding labor and reporting requirements, as well as soil fertility management,” Berardi said.  

The Resilience Institute facilitates scholarship, education, and practice on reducing social and physical vulnerability to natural hazards through sustainable community development. The institute promotes sustainable development strategies as a way to minimize loss and enhance recovery from disasters and foster resilient communities in Washington and its interdependent global communities.

The Resilience Institute can be found at

http://www.wwu.edu/huxley/resilience/Research/FarmResilience/FarmResilience.shtml.

For more information contact Berardi at (360) 650-2106 or gigi.berardi@wwu.edu.